Promotional Product Marketing Blog

Learn the best ways to market your brand with the use of promotional marketing products. Our blog gives you the best tips on ordering the right marketing merchandise to increase brand awareness within your target market. From creative marketing ideas to case studies of how others have used promotional items to promote their brand, we give you clear direction in aligning your promotional product campaign with your overall business goals.


Students Without Mothers: ePromos Gives Back

by Kelly Ellwanger

High school graduation has passed and now you’re looking forward to beginning a new phase of your life in college. Excitement and nerves are among the many emotions experienced at this time. Now imagine going through all of this without a mother’s wisdom and support.

Students without Mothers program hosts a luncheon for 6 of their students heading to college.

Students without Mothers program hosts a luncheon for 6 of their students heading to college.

Students Without Mothers is a non-profit organization which helps high school students without mothers help themselves by empowering them to continue their education. The organization was founded in 2004 by Mary Torrence Williams, whom experienced this situation first hand. After losing her mother at the age of 14, Mary was determined to help others in situations similar to hers. The organization has a scholarship program designed to be life-sustaining, which also provides an opportunity for students to “pay it forward”. Once students are able to do so, the organization asks the individual to help another student in need. Since the organization began in 2004, Students Without Mothers has provided 63 students with a four-year scholarship.

ePromos has recently had the proud opportunity to work in collaboration with Students Without Mothers in giving back to those continuing their education without a mother, preparing 6 students with necessary items to begin their journey through college. This occasion fits in well with the ePromos culture of giving back. Along with this awesome opportunity, ePromos holds #GivingTuesday on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities. They also award $500 of Free Promo items, as part of their ePromos for Good program, bi-monthly.

The “Stock the Dorm” Initiative. ePromos was grateful to be a part of it this year.


10 Winning Strategies for Promoting Your Grocery Store

Grocery stores are a staple in any town – a traditional operation that most folks rely on for food and household items, whether a quick midweek pick-up or mega haul for the whole family. But the times, they are a’changing.

Technology has wedged itself into nearly every corner of business, and grocery stores aren’t excluded. It is essential to have a strong marketing strategy in place to promote your store against mounting competition, both locally and online. There are big shifts happening in the market (hello, Amazon’s Whole Foods acquisition).

Below, we discuss 10 winning strategies to market your grocery store. These ideas can be applied to any store, whether you are part of a large chain, an independent, local market or a niche, small grocer. As many groceries have seen firsthand, the market competition is stiff, and it’s easy to lose numbers – quickly.

Before Choosing a Promotional Strategy

When devising a marketing strategy for your store, it’s important to define your KPIs:

  • What’s your current baseline?
  • What kind of growth are you looking to get out of your strategy – i.e. how do you define success?
  • What are your goals centered around—revenue? Transactions? Foot traffic? Brand awareness?

Devise a strategy. Make a planLaying out these foundational pieces before launching new promotions will allow you to track growth and assess what’s working and what isn’t. Successful marketing strategies take time and money: two items no business wants to waste.

So you need a plan – where to begin? First, ask yourself what are the best marketing channels to reach your potential consumer? These questions will vary depending on your location, size, and target audience. For instance, a rural grocery store will likely choose a different path or tactics than an urban one. After all, both are likely aiming for the same goals!

Your plan should include long- and short-term strategies. For instance, you may quickly pull folks in with an amazing sale or deal on some popular products, but once the frenzy is over, will they stay?

Maybe, if you can also work in a longer-term plan, like creating a budding loyalty program that entices shoppers.

Marketing Strategies & Promotional Ideas for Grocery Stores

With all that in mind, we give you our 10 favorite ideas for marketing strategies and promotions, which can address a number of short and long-term goals:

Strategy #1: Social Media Outreach

Your customers are online a lot. Are you? If you are, what message are you sending your customers? AKA, are you… boring? Straightforward? Online but not engaged? Check out these major fast food brands, for instance, who are making a splash on social media. They’re witty, funny, engaging with customers, and staying relevant.

Social media posts might not seem like a big deal, but these small, daily reminders of in-store offerings are a great way to influence customers. As a grocery store, social media is a simple, cost-effective way to advertise what’s going on in your store – special deals, holiday hours, events – or even highlight staff to make customers feel like a part of your shop’s community.

Strategy #2: Get Local

Plastic straws are being banned around the U.S. Farmers markets are popping up in cities and small towns alike. This push towards sustainable, eco-friendly living is making its way into more and more households every day. As a grocery store, you can join the movement by offering local foods in stores, from fruits and veggies, to eggs, meats and cheeses –anything really that fits in your “local” parameter.

Utilize social media to spotlight these local offerings. For instance, is it blueberry season and you’ve just brought out perfectly plump, juicy pints of ‘em? Let your customers know!

Laminated-grocery-toteStrategy #3: Branded, Reusable Shopping Bags

In line with the sustainable movement, offering branded, reusable shopping bags is a must. More folks are ditching paper and plastic bags in favor of these eco-friendly options. Not only does this help the environment, but it helps to get eyes on your business logo when shoppers use their tote in other places around town. Don’t forget – the more bags are used, the less money you spend on plastic or brown bags.

Keep your grocery bags at check-out lanes where customers can easily see and buy them. You may also consider adding an incentive for folks using them, like these stores are already doing.

Strategy #4: Offer Tastings

Are tastings samples? Essentially, yes. But we aren’t talking about the generic table set-up where a disinterested employee hawks cheese cubes between texting. Make these offerings feel more like an event. Create an attractive set-up. Make sure your employee is friendly, engaged, and put together (fresh uniform, no stains, ironed, etc.).

Host tastings them at the same times each week, or at the same time of the day, so that customers can plan their shopping trip around them. Have a fun theme and offer a greater variety of items than just one jar of salsa or type of cracker. Promote the events on your social media accounts to help get the word out, too. People love free stuff, even if it’s just a few bites of food – and will likely pick up the milk and cereal they just ran out of while they’re there to sample, too.

cooking demo with kidsStrategy #5: In-store Events

Tastings are a great way to introduce new products to customers, but how about revving up that spirit with an actual event? Maybe a cooking demo, “kiddie kitchen,” or a grouping of samples that coincide with an upcoming holiday or cultural event. Drawing folks into your store will mean you’ll not only improve foot traffic but capture unexpected/unintended sales from customers.

If you don’t have a lot of space in-store, try partnering with a local event space! You’ll get double the exposure in promotions and have the chance to align your business with another to help communicate your business’ vibe and values outside of the traditional storefront.

Strategy #6: Offer In-store Fruit and Beverages

Let’s face it, grocery shopping can feel like a chore. Don’t be offended – we’re all super busy these days!

Counter this by creating an atmosphere folks want to be in. Besides the obvious (clean, organized, with friendly and helpful employees), consider wowing your customers with a little treat. There’s already a bunch of stores doing the fruit thing, which, frankly, is pretty great for parents. And stores like Target and Whole Foods allow customers to buy their own meal or snack.

How about a small cup of tea or coffee for adults? The beverage will slow them down, allowing them more time to scan the aisles – which translates to buying more items.

Strategy #7: Offer Delivery

Sorry to bring this up again, but grocery shopping can be a nuisance many, especially in an age when people can buy groceries and everything else online. You and your staff must address the question: why not groceries? What will entice customers to continue to visit your store when they can find the same products on Amazon?

So many stores are already offering delivery as an option. Are you? If not, why? You can offer customers a great convenience – one they’ll gladly pay for, too. Whether you offer this service yourself or link up with a company like Instacart, your customers will appreciate having the option. Just make sure you promote it!

Strategy #8: Create a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are a fantastic way to earn repeat customers who will remain loyal to your store despite surrounding competition. You can forge relationships with these folks by offering an undeniably great loyalty program.

What will yours offer? The basic perks include exclusive, coupons, and even swag like that branded reusable grocery bag we mentioned. Maybe they save 10% on every purchase, receive a free food item each month or receive some other perk for referrals.

Everyone must buy groceries. Adding little bonuses for those who regularly shop at your store is a great way to bring folks in and keep them there.

Strategy #9: Build an Email List

Getting the chance to speak and engage with your customers outside of the store is a huge company win. This can be accomplished with social media, as mentioned above, but also on a more intimate scale using an email list.

It’s a great way to share social media-esque items in longer form (but not too long). You can email out recipes, cooking tips, highlight popular vendors you sell (including local farms!), list your weekly specials, and of course, offer coupons.

Email is a great way to replace the traditional weekly newspaper inserts, which most don’t receive anymore.

Strategy #10: Digitize Coupons

People still love deals, even if they’re no longer scouring newspaper inserts to clip coupons. Instead, digitize your coupons so they can be found and retrieved with a simple finger swipe on a smartphone. Having a few coupons to use just may make the difference between whether they pick up their groceries at your store or the one across town.

From joining healthy movements, like farm fresh food and reusable bags, to marrying your brick and mortar with technology via social media and email, the field is ripe for innovative strategies to promote your grocery store. We hope these marketing tips have got your wheels turning – and soon enough, customers flowing in the door!


4 Reasons Why Wireless Chargers are the Ultimate Promotional Must-Have

Wireless-chargerChances are you’ve heard at least some buzz surrounding the latest generation of wireless QI chargers. Not only are these go-to chargers increasingly portable and versatile, but given their sleek look and wireless charging capabilities, consumers are scooping up these must-haves for home, office and on-the-go use.

So, what does all of this mean for your business? It’s simple — by branding and distributing this summer’s “it” product (and our August “Product of the Month”), you’ll be able to close out the season with a bang. Because, from where we sit, these chargers pack a more powerful punch than virtually any other branded premium in the marketplace. Here’s why:

#1. You CAN’T have just one…

Consider these chargers the Pringles® of the marketing world — you can’t have just one. We’re seeing consumers pop wireless chargers into convenient and high-traffic spots from their own bedsides, desks and cars to conference rooms, waiting rooms and reception areas. By having a wireless charger within arm’s reach at all times, your customers never have to worry about a low battery or being phone-less when they’re out pounding the pavement. And, for your business, that means more opportunities to be front-and-center, delivering a high-value service when customers need it most.

#2. You’re constantly engaging

Science Alert recommends consumers “plug in your phone whenever you can,” since smart phone batteries “are much happier if you charge them occasionally throughout the day…” It’s good advice and another good reason for your business to brand these wireless chargers. Think about it: consumers charging their phones throughout the day means constant, ongoing exposure to your brand and your brand message. Every time she “plugs in” she’ll catch a glimpse of your branding, deepening the relationship and tying you back to serious value — you did get her phone back up to 100%, after all.

Taking this a step further… think about that consistent interaction versus traditional digital and mail pieces. The average consumer spends two seconds with an email — it’s no contest. Even with a direct mail piece which, on average, has a 17-day lifespan, pales in comparison.

#3. There’s an expanded audience built in

Traditional phone chargers are one-notes — you can charge your phone but, likely, nothing else. Not so with our wireless QI chargers which can fuel iPhone® 8, iPhone X and most Samsung® cell phones, plus virtually any device with a compatible adapter. This instantly makes these chargers the perfect addition to any office or high-traffic setting — again, think waiting rooms, break rooms and reception areas. In other words, places lots of other people frequent — and places lots of other people will see your brand messaging.

With this added versatility, then, it’s easy to expand your reach with no added investment or engagement. It’s a win/win — your brand gets massive exposure without a massive incremental investment. And who knows? That client-of-a-client juicing up their phone on your wireless charger could drive a lucrative partnership in the not-too-distant future.

#4. They’re the hottest item on the market…

When Apple® rolled out QI charging for its iPhone 8 and iPhone X, the demand spiked and countless consumers were introduced to these powerhouse chargers for the very first time. The end result: you couldn’t miss the wireless QI chargers at CES this year, with consumers, media and tech influencers vying to get their hands on the latest and greatest. In short, everyone wants one of these chargers, and, with our custom branding opportunities, you’ll have the opportunity to be the business that delivers.

So, there you have it! Check out our Qi Wireless Custom Phone Charging Pad and call us to start planning your next campaign now!




How to Increase Employee Productivity with Branded Gifts

Branded gifts are a win-win – most folks are flattered to receive a gift, and it’s a great way to get your brand out there. Many companies tend to focus on giveaways and gifts for customers, but employees can be some of your most loyal mouthpieces – and in some cases, lifelong customers, too. They’ve got a firsthand inside scoop on your company. If it’s a great place to work, trust and believe they’ll be more than happy to let friends and family know about what the company is up to, and what it offers to the public.

Employee branded gifts can and should be given throughout the year, not just in December. After all, employees work tirelessly year-round. A small, thoughtful gift every few months is a great way to let them know that you not only notice all the hard work, but really are grateful for it. But perhaps the most favorable perk of employee gift-giving is that it can improve productivity: The elusive albatross every company is always after, no matter how good their numbers are.

Here are a few tips for the types of custom gifts you can give to help increase employee productivity and motivation in the workplace:

Gifts Designed to Make Employees Work Faster

The workplace may not be a race, but speed still matters. As workloads increase, folks are often left struggling to fit everything they need to do in a single day. When they can’t keep up, it’s not only frustrating, but can actually be demoralizing.

Help your employees work faster by giving them logo branded gifts intended to increase their speed, such as:


  • Mobile keyboards — Typing on phones and iPads can be slooooow (not to mention rife with typos). A mobile keyboard is a great way to speed things up, especially when employees are traveling or constantly on-the-go.
  • Portable chargers — Nothing stalls productivity quicker than a dead battery or phone. Ensure your employees can always plug in with the gift of a portable charger, which allows them to charge up anytime, anywhere.
  • Mints and gum – Known to stimulate the brain, popping a mint or chewing a stick of gum can help to improve alertness, memory, and attention spans. Keep a few bowls around the office so your employees can help themselves throughout the day to avoid the midday slump.

 Gifts Designed to Make Employees Work Smarter

The adage “work smarter, not harder” can be quite helpful in the workplace. After all, you don’t want your employees over-extending themselves daily to fulfill their to-do list. Instead, help them work smarter by gifting them items to stay better organized and on top of their game.

A few ideas:

  • Custom planners – Organizational tools like these are a fantastic way to keep employees on track. Staff can lay out their tasks in a multitude of ways: daily, weekly, and even monthly. Planners also offer them space for creativity and brainstorming, as well as encourage activities like goal setting to help rise to the expectations of their current role.
  • Laptop sleeves and briefcases – Gifting your employees branded protective gear is an easy way to pad electronics against the wear and tear that comes with commuting and travel. Not only does it extend the longevity of devices, but it also encourages staff to take their work with them, minimizing time lost that could have been spent on deliverables.
  • Workshops and classes – The gift of knowledge will last longer than any physical item you can give an employee. Bring in experts for workshops or have your department or team sign up for an online course that they can participate in together.

Gifts Designed to Make Employees Stay Focused

Countless studies question whether the advent of the Internet is causing our attention spans to shrink. It might not be all bad news, but employees’ ability to maintain focus the entire workday remains a concern for many corporations.

Below, we offer some tips for increasing productivity with gifts that’ll help your staff stay focused:

  • On-site yoga or medication classes – Consider bringing in a yoga instructor or guided meditation expert once a week/month to help reset busy minds. Staff will relish in the opportunity for some self-care mid-workday, and you’ll reap the benefits of centered minds. Build excitement around the class by gifting branded yoga mats, yoga pants or water bottles – convenient items that can be used to enhance the experience.
  • Computer glasses — Most professionals spend eight+ hours in front of a computer screen for work. Eye strain, red eyes, and blurry vision are all common side effects of this. Lots of folks swear by glasses designed to counter these effects, which can literally hinder focus and dampen productivity.
  • Coffee mugs – Mugs are a staple in any office, because, hello, caffeine. There’s almost nothing like an afternoon coffee pick-me-up to help folks refresh and refocus for the second half of the workday. Take coffee breaks up a notch with branded insulated mugs, perfect for keeping coffee hot for hours.

Gifts Designed to Boost Employee Loyalty

Employee turnover is painful. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and a drain on productivity, which is why companies are so keen to build employee loyalty. Employee loyalty helps cultivate an environment that makes people want to be there. Loyalty also increases productivity, efficiency, and generally makes the office a more pleasant place to be.

Here are some gifts to promote employee loyalty:

  • Fleece jackets – Offices are notorious for always being cold, no matter the temperatures outside. Gift a branded fleece to help employees stay warm year-round. They’ll appreciate the thought – and how it stops the shivers.
  • Awards – People like to be recognized for their efforts, and employees are no exception. Your business might consider ways to regularly and publicly commend staff for a job well done to improve sentiment and light a fire under the rest of the team. An easy way to acknowledge individuals is with custom plaques, awards, or trophies.
  • Food – There’s something about free food in the workplace that creates a buzz around the office. Key into that by gifting employees snacks, like chocolate, popcorn, cheese and crackers, and more. These little snack breaks are a great way to build comradery and really connect with team members, as they leave behind the stress of projects and meetings for a few minutes. Giving employees the opportunity to create emotional connections in the workplace will boost their appreciation, dedication, and love for the job.

Creative Ways to Present Gifts & Giveaways to Your Employees

Now that you’ve got tips for faster, smarter, more focused and loyal employees, we offer our last bit of advice: how to present these gifts. Sure, you can always just leave them on an employee’s desk, but where’s the fun in that? Attaching a memory to the gift and presenting it in a professional way will make it that much more meaningful.

Company Retreat

Whether your company does an annual retreat or on-site, workday event, these respites from the daily grind offer the perfect opportunity to present employees with gifts. Consider earmarking some time during the retreat for an “awards ceremony”, a la the Oscars, to give employees their gifts. Superlatives like “Most Helpful Teammate,” “Always on Time,” “Idea Guru” all individualize key players and show them you notice all that they do.

Easier still than an awards ceremony, all employees will be excited to receive a swag bag with generous branded products from the company. Small tokens of appreciation will tighten the bond between employer and employee, which lends itself to a more productive workforce.

Birthdays or Work Anniversaries

work-birthday-celebrationRemember how fun celebrating milestones was as a kid? Cake, balloons, gifts – all items designed to make it the best day ever. As adults, we rarely celebrate birthdays, let alone work anniversaries. Presenting your employee with a gift on his or her birthday may be the only gift they receive that year – let that sink in for a minute, and you’ll quickly realize how significant it could be for someone.

Work anniversaries hardly garner a “congrats,” unless it’s something big, like a 10-year milestone. But as a savvy employer, you know better than to wait until then! Taking the time to remember, acknowledge, and bestow a gift to an employee for these celebrations will make them feel like a million bucks, and proud to be part of your team.

Evaluation Reviews

Whether annual or quarterly, reviews can be nerve wracking for even the best employee. While earning a stellar review can feel like a gift unto itself, receiving something for a job well done elevates the experience. It also gives employees a memento to commemorate his or her performance. A box of chocolates, fun new desk accessory or other corporate gift can serve as a reminder that you see how hard they’re working, and thank them for it.

Mid or End of Busy Season/Project

Every job has its busy season. These hectic times are usually unavoidable and can lead to skipped lunches, late hours, and chaotic days (and sometimes even weekends). They inevitably drain employees. As their manager, keep the momentum going by gifting employees something midway through, or at the end of a project to celebrate all their hard work.

By now, we hope we’ve pumped you with loads of ideas on what to gift employees, and how to do so, all for the sake of increasing productivity for your company. Remember, a little goes a long way – it doesn’t have to be cash, and it doesn’t have to be exclusively gifted during the holidays. Branded corporate gifts given throughout the year are a cost-effective way to keep employees motivated and engaged – and of course, productive!

Call us now, the Promo-Know How People and we’ll work together to get you setup with employees gifts that are right for your business.



5 Reasons Paper Packs a Punch in a Decidedly Digital Age

There’s no question we’re elbow-deep in digital, with a swell that’s no doubt on the rise. For businesses and marketers, this seismic shift has changed the way we do everything, from engaging with new customers to communicating with clients to pulling folks deeper into our brand experiences. In short, it’s digital, digital, digital with a side of digital, and as brands and businesses, we’ve more or less fallen in line.

Until we didn’t. Or, at least, until we started to push back a little bit.

Then a little more.

Then a lot more. More on that in a minute.

Granted, we aren’t suggesting digital is dead (this is a blog, after all). But the more digital-saturated the landscape becomes, the harder it is to cut through the clutter and get the attention your business wants, needs and deserves. The solution? PAPER — as in the, direct mail, postcards, calendars and pamphlets that lost some footing to the more common, low-cost, emails, texts and in-app experiences dominating our daily use. Think about it: if everyone zigs and you zag, you’re going to get noticed. And, here, we’re all about the zag. Because, hands down, paper packs a punch. Here’s why…

Million emails flying out of the computer

#1. Too much is too much

Seventy-four trillion emails are sent annually — more than 5,000 times the number of direct mail pieces sent each year. This means that if you’re looking for new customers, or trying to build rapport with existing ones that have more potential, you just may not get through that way. There’s just too much digital communication swirling around, and that leads to decreased attention, engagement and overall action — see point #2…

#2. They care more when it’s in print…

Because they’re getting so many emails, your customers don’t care as much when a new note hits their inbox. The average lifespan on an email is about two seconds, versus 17 days for a mail piece. The end result? Three in four recall seeing a direct mail piece, and four in five say they act on it immediately. This, together, drives an average 4.4% response rate, compared to 0.12% for email.

The big question, then: why the enhanced performance of paper over digital? Some point to the warm and fuzzies mail delivers that email, simply, can’t, while others attribute these clear-cut lifts to the enhanced targeting opportunities. Regardless of the drivers, these boosts can’t be denied, and that’s forcing more and more brands and marketers to shift their mindset and their dollars and get back to print.

Our Best Seller Daily Date Calendar#3. There’s a real use case

Sure, there might be a promo code or other high-value offer tucked away in one of the 161 emails you sent and received today. Like we mentioned before though, unless you already have an established relationship with the recipeint of those emails, you probably won’t spot it.

Not so with print. Open a promotional calendar or planner and — BAM! You know exactly what it is, exactly what to do with it and, instantly, can see the massive value it represents. And, if it’s branded by a company or individual, then you can’t help but immediately make a positive connection. It’s a win/win/win — you get something useful without working hard, while solidifying a personal or business connection. Check, check, check.

#4. It’s always there

Let’s stick with our paper calendar example for a minute. Your business sends a custom calendar, your customers and prospects receive it and a connection is made. But it doesn’t end there. Unlike an email that’s easy to delete (on purpose or by accident), that calendar is getting hung up on a bulletin board, stuck to a fridge or displayed desk-side — in other words, it’s there, in plain sight, getting noticed daily. No doubt that constant attention drives added consideration — 70% of promotional calendar recipients say they plan to do business with the company that sent the piece.

And that email? More like, “what email?” An errant swipe sent that thing straight to the trash can. Even if your client wanted it, who has time to wade through tens of thousands of emails, or spend half the day guessing at a keyword or subject line in an effort to unearth it?

#5. People still love PAPER

Arguably the best benefit? People just love paper and, overwhelmingly, prefer the experience to going 100% digital. Appointment book, planner and decorative calendar sales continue to increase year-over-year, driven heavily by personalization opportunities. And driving that personalization? Businesses like YOURS. “A bright spot in the industry,” writes The New York Times, “remains promotional calendars, like those distributed by real estate agents, medical professionals, car repair shops and other businesses,” which have increased or stayed consistent in recent years.

And it’s not just calendars and planners. A recent Pew survey found most people still prefer reading and taking notes on paper. Eighty-two percent of calendar recipients say they like receiving them and many report making better decisions when they write activities down. With less distractions compared to digital calendars and platforms, it’s easier to stay focused, prioritized and achieve goals — really, what more could you or your customers ask for?

Nothing. Exactly.

Putting it together…On paper

The takeaway? Whether it’s a promotional calendar or planner or some other high-value printed piece, your customers 1) want it 2) get more use out of it, and 3) will notice it. We can’t say the same about email, text and the endless stream of digital pings businesses are sending into the universe daily. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

Now excuse us — we’re off to pencil in that next direct mail campaign and can’t wait to work with you on your next project! In the meantime, browse our calendar selection to get some ideas of where to start.


Clever Marketing Ideas for Gyms to Boost Membership

Most gym owners agree: the business of retaining and gaining new members is exhausting, not unlike, say an hour on the treadmill. It takes constant, proactive strategizing to keep interest in your gym beyond New Year’s and “summer bod” goals.

But increased gym membership is crucial to a gym’s financial and commercial success. Members = revenue, something no business can stand to lose.

Below, we tackle three key areas where you should employ a marketing strategy to boost memberships – in-house, within the local community, and online. Choosing the best options for your gym depends on your location, niche, and neighborhood community.

Check out 10 ideas below and consider testing out at least one from each category as you create your marketing strategy to boost gym membership.

On-Site Gym Marketing Ideas

• Host an Event

host a friend at your gymThe whole goal of an on-site marketing strategy is to get people in the door. A fun way to do this is by hosting an event to draw in the crowds. You can do this by relying on current members to bring pals along, via a “Bring a Friend Day” event – a tried and true method.

However, consider going an extra step. After all, what about all those folks out there with no friends at your gym, who still may be interested in checking it out? Host a reoccurring event for free or at a steep discount. For example: Five Dollar Fridays, or free entry at a particular time on the first Saturday of the month. This is a great way to get folks into your gym, test it out, and see why they should join.

Outside an event series, there are plenty of excuses to have one-off events in your space. Perhaps it’s champagne and Pilates for Mother’s Day, a health and wellness fair, or even a full day fitness retreat!

Always make sure you have an added incentive for those event attendees to come back — be it first month free, unlimited classes/entry their first week, or 10% off smoothies/protein bars/merch.

• Create Loyalty Incentives

Design loyalty programs to not only keep members excited about being a part of your gym, but to lure in new ones. This will keep the cash flowing, but also gives your customers more excuses to talk about your business in their daily lives.

What your loyalty program entails depends on what the gym has to offer. Here are a few ideas:

• If you have a smoothie/juice bar, include a loyalty card that entitles members to a free drink each month
• If you have an electric massage bed, offer 10 free minutes every 10th visit
• If you sell merchandise or equipment, have a small birthday gift given to your loyal members each year
• Guest passes and membership referrals are any easy win for any gym!

These little bonuses are an easy way to entice folks to keep coming back.

• Run a Special

It may be trite, but almost no one is more motivated to join a gym quite more than around New Year’s and the few months leading up to summer. Many will already be looking for a gym – don’t let your competition snatch your potential customer. Run a special at these high-volume times of the year.

For instance, X number of free training sessions with new membership, $0 sign-on fee, etc. Much like loyalty incentives, these “add-ons” make customers feel like they’re getting a deal, increasing their likelihood to sign up with you.

• Build a Community

For many folks, getting to the gym – and sticking with it – requires some serious motivation. Accountability partners, gym buddies… all these are great tools many individuals use to keep on track with their gym goals. BUT HEY GYM, why not create them for your members?

Run a special “8-week weight loss crew” or other group that fits your demographic as a way to create meaningful relationships in-store. Have a café on-site? Utilize it for discussions post-workout. Create a program where customers can opt-in to getting paired with an accountability partner or be mentored by someone on staff. By building a community within your business, you’re creating an emotional connection for members, beyond the sweat and tears of the workout.

Local Marketing Ideas for Your Gym

Partner with a Local Business

Sometimes, two heads (or more) really are better than one! Teaming up with a local, compatible, non-competitive business is a great way to spread your target audience reach. This could be a local healthy food café, juice bar, or sporting goods store. Give each other a scratch on the back and help one another to capture your like-minded audiences.
Some examples? Give away vouchers for discounts or a free sample at your gym’s front desk. Bring in a flyer to receive a discount at either location; or even have said local business come in to host their own event! A win-win for everyone.

• Partake in Community Events & Festivals

Gyms can be intimidating for lots of folks, making it difficult to even entertain stepping into one, let alone actually joining. Meet these folks halfway by stepping out into the community. Set up a booth at a local festival that aligns with your company’s values or interests.

Give passersby the opportunity to talk with your owner and staff face-to-face, away from elliptical machines and weights. The more potential members you can meet, the greater number are likely to turn into customers.

• Entice with Giveaways

Folks love free things – why not use that to your advantage with some customized gym swag? With your logo or messaging on a nice gym or sports bag, water bottle or towel, your name will travel with your customers.

Think about strategic ways gym-goers can earn their own. Maybe all new member signups receive free swag? Or combine our last idea with this one – host mini contests or promotions at community events, where the winner receives a branded gift. How about members who sign-up on the spot receive a free gym bag? Signing-up via email (get those leads!) earns them a free pair of logo socks. This is a double-whammy for marketing your gym. Potential new members will be happy to get something slick, and their toting it around is free advertising for you!

Online Gym Marketing Ideas

• Invest in a Website & Web Presence

If you aren’t online already, get digital now.

Investing in a website and cultivating your Web presence is key. People should be able to find you online – and you ought to look just as good there as you do in-person! Make sure your site is up-to-date, engaging, and inspiring. The possibilities for clever content marketing ideas are endless:

• Spotlight new and/or long-time members
• Post pictures of members and staff’s fitness transformations
• Have trainers share their favorite workout and meal tips
• Promote any special contests, discounts, challenges and events
• Allow users to pay for classes, memberships and products online

Investing in your social media presence can also provide a huge benefit. So long as your accounts are kept up-to-date, minimal work is required to get your brand in front of plenty of eyeballs.

• Create a Referral Program

Word of mouth is hard to beat. After all, a testimonial from a friend or colleague inherently offers a trustworthy perspective. Also, it’s essentially free marketing.

Let your members know how much you appreciate them spreading the love by offering an enticing referral program – whether that’s one month free for each person, two free personal training sessions, or $50 credit towards the café or merchandise.

Create a reward based around what fits your gym’s vibe. This can be handled easily via email – members can request an email be sent to their referrals via your website. This keeps things simple, and lets you get access to leads’ contact information.

• Utilize SEO

Search Engine Optimization is a fantastic marketing strategy for helping potential new members find you. According to a recent Forbes article, 80-90% of consumers check reviews online before making purchases. Thinking about signing up for a gym membership? You better believe your potential customer is checking nearby gyms out online. Ensure your gym rises to the top by showing up as early as possible in that Google search (and then, of course, make sure you have an awesome website to back it up).

We hope our list has gotten those wheels turning. It’ll require some trial and error to land on the best strategies for your specific gym/niche and that’s OK – just don’t get complacent or be afraid to shake it up and try something new! Member sign-ups happen in waves, but it’s best to have a couple of strong strategies in place throughout the year.

We recommend having a strong Web presence to start, and then choosing one strategy from each section to help spread your reach, from in-person to online – the best of both marketing worlds.

Call us, the Promo Know-How People, to get started on your next marketing campaign.